Experimenting with Onigiri – 2 Recipes

When it comes to snack food the Japanese definitely rule the game, if you ask me. There are countless amazing foods the Japanese cuisine offers that are for some unexplainable reason not very common around here. One of them is Onigiri, which are basically flavored rice balls rolled into a pretty shape. And thats just what constitutes the genius of Japanese food.

The possibilities with Onigiri are endless, so I thought I would give it at go and try something a little different, less traditional. I made two different kinds, a simple one with beetroot and spring onion and another one stuffed with mushrooms and pay choi. Both equally delicious!

Makes 14 Onigiri


  • 425g or 2 1/3 cup sushi rice
  • 3 tbsp rice vinegar
  • salt & sugar to taste
  • 2 sheets of nori paper

for the beetroot Onigiri:

  • 1 cooked beetroot
  • 2 spring onions
  • 2 tbsp black sesame

for the stuffed mushroom Onigiri:

  • 120g or 1 cup shiitake mushrooms
  • 1 handful of pak choi
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp maple sirup
  • 1 tsp liquid smoke (optional)
  • 1 tbsp tahini


  1. Start by cooking the rice, either in a rice cooker or in a pot according to the instructions.
  2. While the rice is cooking start cutting the mushrooms and the pak choi into very small pieces.
  3. Heat up the sesame oil in a skillet and add in the mushrooms and pak choi. Cook until tender, then add the soy sauce, maple sirup, liquid smoke and tahini. Stir until everything is well combined and set aside to cool down.
  4. Next grate the beetroot using a cheese grater and cut the spring onion into very small pieces.
  5. Cut the nori paper into 14 about 4cm long strips.
  6. Once the rice is done add in the vinegar, salt & sugar and divide it evenly into two bowls and mix the beetroot, spring onion and black sesame seeds into one of the bowls.
  7. Now it’s time to form the Onigiri. I recommend doing the beetroot ones first, as they are easier to shape.
  8. Wet your hands, so the rice doesn’t stick to it and add 1/3 of a cup of rice into your palm and start shaping a triangle. There is a special technique for shaping Onigiri, it is very simple to learn and there are loads of instructional videos on YouTube, like this one.
  9. Once the Onigiri has its form simply wrap one of the nori strips around the bottom and set aside to cool down.
  10. For the mushroom filled ones, just add the rice into one palm and create a little mold in the center of the rice using your thumb, place about 2 tsp of mushroom filling inside and then form a ball, making sure none of the filling comes oozing out. Now proceed to shape the Onigiri.

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